Hibs chief executive Leeann Dempster today insisted the Easter Road outfit have no intention of selling any of their star players – not only in the current transfer window but also the next one in January.
The Capital club have already turned down a bid which, in time, would have amounted to £1.7 million from Peterborough for top scorer Jason Cummings and, Dempster revealed, any possible offers which come before tomorrow night’s deadline will be similarly rebuffed.
“Absolutely,” was her reply when asked if she was confident of boss Neil Lennon’s squad remaining intact come Thursday morning, adding: “The club has, for the last two years, run a Premier League operation. Once you start going the other way it’s hard to change direction again so we decided right from the get go that we were not going to do that.”
As in the past two seasons, promotion to the top flight remains Hibs’ over-riding priority and that, declared Demspter, is the reason why 21-year-old Cummings won’t be sold, arguing that sometimes “it’s not all about money”. Dempster revealed that sales of almost 11,000 season tickets, the second highest total ever, and the indications being that, provided Lennon’s side keep winning, Easter Road will continue to attract bumper crowds have put Hibs in good shape.
She said: “We’ve been saying for the last couple of years we want to get promoted. Selling Jason, one of Scotland’s best young talents – the highest goal scorer at the club last season and he’s continued in similar vein this season – isn’t what is needed.
“We turned that down [Peterborough’s offer] because we want to get promoted this season and Jason is an integral part of the team. I think it says a lot that we want to hold on to the best young talent in Scotland.”
Dempster conceded there could be offers made, but countered Hibs were very much in control of matters, saying: “Numbers are numbers. We had a number put towards us and we have said ‘no’. We are not worried about the transfer window closing because we are in control of that situation.
“Football is a strange game, you can never say absolutely never. But I’m telling you ‘never’ at this moment. Nothing is happening in this transfer window and we have no intentions that anything will happen in January either. Our eyes are focused on the end of the season.”
And Dempster revealed there could, in fact, be an addition or two to Lennon’s squad in the next day or so. Former Motherwell midfielder Tom Hateley, currently a free agent, has been in talks with Hibs and a clutch of other clubs, while Lennon has no doubt been casting his eye far and wide ahead of the deadline.
She said: “There may be one or two coming in depending on what happens. Neil has said before it’s about getting the right people in the right positions. We feel we have done the business we were wanting to do. Neil told us what he wanted, three players and positions and we have done that. Anything further will be a bonus, if you like.”